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the Salem witchcraft outbreak of 1692

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Elizabeth Cary
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Elizabeth Cary

(Complaint v. Elizabeth Cary)
Salem, May 28'th 1692.

Mr. Thomas. puttnam & Benjamin Hutchinson both of Salem Vilage
Yeomen Complaine of Elizabeth Ca[rey] the wife of Capt Nathaniell
Cary of Charls=Towne Ma[ri]ner, on behalfe of theyr Majestyes, for
Sundry Acts of Witch craft by hir Comitted upon the Bodys of
M[ary] Walcott, Abigall. Willyams & Mercy Lewis all of Sa[lem] Vil-
lage , whereby great hurt & damage is done them and therefore Crave
Justice

( Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 2 Page 52 )


(Nathaniel Cary's Account of his Wife's Examination)
I having heard some days, that my Wife was accused of Witch-
craft , being much disturbed at it, by advice, we went to Salem-
Village , to see if the afflicted did know her; we arrived there, 24
May, it happened to be a day appointed for Examination; accord-
ingly soon after our arrival, Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Curwin, etc., went
to the Meeting-house, which was the place appointed for that Work,
the Minister began with Prayer, and having taken care to get a
convenient place, I observed, that the afflicted were two Girls of
about Ten Years old, and about two or three other, of about eight-
een , one of the Girls talked most, and could discern more than the
rest. The Prisoners were called in one by one, and as they came in
were cried out of, etc. The Prisoner was placed about 7 or 8 foot
from the Justices, and the Accusers between the Justices and them;
the Prisoner was ordered to stand right before the Justices, with an



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Officer appointed to hold each hand, least they should therewith
afflict them, and the Prisoners Eyes must be constantly on the Jus-
tices ; for if they look'd on the afflicted, they would either fall into
their Fits, or cry out of being hurt by them; after Examination of
the Prisoners, who it was afflicted these Girls, etc., they were put
upon saying the Lords Prayer, as a tryal of their guilt; after the
afflicted seem'd to be out of their Fits, they would look steadfastly
on some one person, and frequently not speak; and then the Justices
said they were struck dumb, and after a little time would speak again;
then the Justices said to the Accusers, "which of you will go and
touch the Prisoner at the Bar?" then the most couragious would ad-
venture , but before they had made three steps would ordinarily fall
down as in a Fit; the Justices ordered that they should be taken up
and carried to the Prisoner, that she might touch them; and as soon
as they were touched by the accused, the Justices would say, they are
well, before I could discern any alteration; by which I observed that
the Justices understood the manner of it. Thus far I was only as
a Spectator, my Wife also was there part of the time, but no notice
taken of her by the afflicted, except once or twice they came to her
and asked her name.

But I having an opportunity to Discourse Mr. Hale (with whom
I had formerly acquaintance) I took his advice, what I had best to
do, and desired of him that I might have an opportunity to speak
with her that accused my Wife; which he promised should be, I
acquainting him that I reposed my trust in him.

Accordingly he came to me after the Examination was over,
and told me I had now an opportunity to speak with the said Accuser,
viz . Abigail Williams, a Girl of 11 or 12 Years old; but that we could
not be in private at Mr. Parris's House, as he had promised me; we
went therefore into the Alehouse, where an Indian Man attended us,
who it seems was one of the afflicted: to him we gave some Cyder,
he shewed several Scars, that seemed as if they had been long there,
and shewed them as done by Witchcraft, and acquainted us that his
Wife, who also was a Slave, was imprison'd for Witchcraft. And now
instead of one Accuser, they all came in, who began to tumble down
like Swine, and then three Women were called in to attend them.
We in the Room were all at a stand, to see who they would cry
out of; but in a short time they cried out, Cary; and immediately



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after a Warrant was sent from the Justices to bring my Wife before
them, who were sitting in a Chamber near by, waiting for this.

Being brought before the Justices, her chief accusers were two
Girls; my Wife declared to the Justices, that she never had any knowl-
edge of them before that day; she was forced to stand with her
Arms stretched out. I did request that I might hold one of her
hands, but it was denied me; then she desired me to wipe the Tears
from her Eyes, and the Sweat from her Face, which I did; then she
desired she might lean her self on me, saying, she should faint.

Justice Hathorn replied, she had strength enough to torment
those persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. I
speaking something against their cruel proceedings, they commanded
me to be silent, or else I should be turned out of the Room. The
Indian before mentioned, was also brought in, to be one of her
Accusers: being come in, he now (when before the Justices) fell
down and tumbled about like a Hog, but said nothing. The Justices
asked the Girls, who afflicted the Indian? they answered she ( mean-
ing my Wife) and now lay upon him; the Justices ordered her to touch
him, in order to his cure, but her head must be turned another way,
least instead of curing, she should make him worse, by her looking on
him, her hand being guided to take hold of his; but the Indian took
hold on her hand, and pulled her down on the Floor, in a barbarous
manner; then his hand was taken off, and her hand put on his, and
the cure was quickly wrought. I being extreamly troubled at their
Inhumane dealings, uttered a hasty Speech (That God would take
vengeance on them, and desired that God would deliver us out of the
hands of unmerciful men.) Then her Mittimus was writ. I did with
difficulty and charge obtain the liberty of a Room, but no Beds in it;
if there had, could have taken but little rest that Night. She was
committed to Boston Prison; but I obtained a Habeas Corpus to
remove her to Cambridge Prison, which is in our County of Middle-
sex . Having been there one Night, next Morning the Jaylor put
Irons on her legs (having received such a command) the weight of
them was about eight pounds; these Irons and her other Afflictions,
soon brought her into Convulsion Fits, so that I thought she would
have died that Night. I sent to intreat that the Irons might be taken
off, but all intreaties were in vain, if it would have saved her Life,
so that in this condition she must continue. The Tryals at Salem



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coming on, I went thither, to see how things were there managed;
and finding that the Spectre-Evidence was there received, together
with Idle, if not malicious Stories, against Peoples Lives, I did easily
perceive which way the rest would go; for the same Evidence that
served for one, would serve for all the rest. I acquainted her with her
danger; and that if she were carried to Salem to be tried, I feared she
would never return. I did my utmost that she might have her Tryal
in our own County, I with several others Petitioning the Judge for
it, and were put in hopes of it; but I soon saw so much, that I under-
stood thereby it was not intended, which put me upon consulting
the means of her escape; which thro the goodness of God was ef-
fected , and she got to Road Island, but soon found her self not safe
when there, by reason of the pursuit after her; from thence she
went to New-York, along with some others that had escaped their
cruel hands; where we found his Excellency Benjamin Fletcher,
Esq; Governour, who was very courteous to us. After this some of
my Goods were seized in a Friends hands, with whom I had left them,
and my self imprisoned by the Sheriff, and kept in Custody half a
day, and then dismist; but to speak of their usage of the Prisoners,
and their Inhumanity shewn to them, at the time of their Execution,
no sober Christian could bear; they had also tryals of cruel mockings;
which is the more, considering what a People for Religion, I mean
the profession of it, we have been; those that suffered being many of
them Church-Members, and most of them unspotted in their Con-
versation , till their Adversary the Devil took up this Method for
accusing them.


Per Nathaniel Cary.

( Robert Calef, More Wonders of the Invisible World [London 1700] as excerpted in Burr,
ed., Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, pp. 350-352 .)